I put off writing this month’s blog because I
thought, perhaps, the end of the world was upon us. So why write a
blog if there's nobody around to read it? If you’re one of those
people who don’t watch the news on TV or pay any attention to the
numerous news sources on the Web, then you may not know that things
have been going to hell in a handbasket lately.
I keep reminding myself that we've always been
on the brink of apocalyptic disaster throughout history. I do a lot
of historic research for my novels, so I know this is true. I don’t
mean World-War-nth bad, but pretty bad, depending on where
you live I suppose. I mean, there are plenty of conflicts going on
throughout the world right now: Ukraine, Nagorno Karabakh, Sudan,
Iran, Yemen, and others. It seems likely that China, Russia, North
Korea, or Texas could declare war on the U.S. at any moment
bringing an end to life as we know it.
I wonder if this is why Florida recently
joined many other States in passing a law that allows everyone to
carry a concealed weapon without a permit or any training? I guess
you never know when we might have to start defending ourselves from
some enemy or other. But if everybody is carrying a concealed
weapon, how do you know who the bad guys are? It makes me kind of
nervous and I just hope I don’t piss anybody off these days.
And what the heck is going on with all the
mass shootings? There have been 160 mass shootings in the U.S. so
far this year. That’s more than one a day. One news source reports
that there have been 11,523 people who have died by gun violence as
of April 10 - this year! Half of those were by suicide which is
kind of depressing. I just read that guns are the leading cause of
death for children and teens in the U.S. Wow. Okay - yes, I know.
Guns don’t kill, people kill. So I should probably say, the leading
cause of death for children and teens are people shooting them with
a gun. It appears that many people who've decided to kill other
people are doing so with weapons designed to be used in warfare -
weapons that do a lot of damage to the human body, more so than
regular weapons. I'm just hoping nobody decides to shoot me
regardless of what kind of weapon they decide to use.
Why do so many people want to harm others? It
seems a lot of people are pissed off these days about all kinds of
things. There are the big issues, of course, like abortion, gun
control, gender orientation, sexual orientation, and the “Woke”
thing. But there are also a bunch of less publicized issues that
get some people pretty riled up. I saw something on the TV
yesterday that I never really thought about before. There’s a
women’s movement declaring that they're pissed off about having to
pay sales tax on feminine hygiene products and paying more for a
shaver than men do. I get it. There’s a lot to be pissed off about,
but pissed enough to kill someone?
Maybe all this anger is why there’s an
increase in road rage incidents, and why homeowners are starting to
shoot people who accidently pull into their driveway, or knock on
their door, or accidently get in the wrong car.
True story - I got in the wrong car a couple
months ago. Another person's car was parked next to mine at the
grocery store. It was exactly the same car as mine - a white
Mercedes 300. I obviously wasn't paying attention, so I blithely
got into this car and pushed the start button, but nothing
happened. Hmmm. I suddenly noticed a stethascope hanging from the
rearview mirror. Hmmm. I don't own a stethascope. Holy bat guano!
I'm in the wrong car! I guess it happens. Fortunately, nobody shot
me for my lapse in attention.
I think we all know that the Democrats are
pissed off at the Republicans, and the Republicans are pissed off
at the Democrats. But that’s not unusual. What bothers me, though,
is that the disagreements no longer seem to be limited to heated
debates about the pros and cons of differing solutions to public
issues – you know, democracy at work. These days, the side who
doesn’t agree with other side is being cast as an enemy of America
and everything American. "We've got to get America back. We've got
to save America." Back from who? Aren't we all Americans, and isn't
America everybody's? There’s even crazy talk by some about some
States seceding from America, starting a civil war, putting the
other guys in jail.(OK - some of them should go to jail). But don’t
you think that’s all kind of scary? I'm thinking apocalyptic.
But those are just the self-inflicted
disasters in our world. Mother Nature also seems set on kicking ass
over the last few years, as if she’s trying to compete with our
human propensity to self-destruct. The weather this past year has
been crazy – hot were it’s supposed to be cold, cold where it’s
supposed be hot, cold one day and hot the next, tornadoes galore,
snow blizzards, and floods. Dogs and cats living together! There
was this thing called an atmospheric river, a whole string of them
in fact, that slammed into our west coast this year.
I’m thinking these natural events are probably
a sign of apocalyptic things to come. We haven’t had a catastrophic
earthquake in a while. This might be the year that one or more of
the 160 active volcanos in the U.S. start blowing their tops -
maybe even the Yellowstone caldera. Hawaii has already seen some of
that kind of thing in the last few months. Oh, and we have
hurricane season to look forward to here in Florida.
Apocalyptic? Well, maybe I’m being a little
over reactive. The sun still comes up everyday here at our house. I
guess I'll just keep writing. My next book, though, is about what
happens if all the above happens and/or gets worse.
I suppose you've heard about the big brouhaha over the banning
of books in schools and public libraries. Yep, it's true. I don't
think there have been any book burnings yet, but the heat is
definitely rising on this issue. Of course, there are two
diametrically opposed sides in this new movement. The Mothers for
Liberty have been successful in getting laws passed to ban books in
25 States, by reason of being "sexually explicit", containing
"offensive language", or just "unsuited to any age group". The
other side in this volatile debate are suggesting the Mothers of
Liberty change their name to the Mothers of Repression.
Well, I believe I have a dog in this hunt. I'm sure my books, at
least some of them, qualify to be put on the banned books list. My
books include material of a (I think tasteful) sexual nature, a bit
of cussing here and there, and who's to say if they're suitable or
not? One critic wrote that my latest book, Trouble in Choctaw
County, was "racially insensitive" to native-Americans. What
I'm beginning to realize is that the books being banned, such as
To Kill a Mockingbird, 1984, Catcher in the
Rye, Charlotte's Web, and The Great Gatsby, (all
of which I've read - and I think I turned out pretty normal) are
enjoying a resurgence in sales. If I can get my books on the banned
book list, a lot more people might buy them!
At the risk of sounding political, my casual observation on this
issue is - people ought to put a little more effort in making sure
they don't throw the baby out with the bathwater. I'll say no
Wait. There is one more thing. I'm sure my novel, Journey to
Eden, is a good candidate for being banned. It's about
interracial relationships, the horrors of slavery, the decimation
of native-Americans, and the poor treatment of immigrants. So, if
you're motivated to read banned books, I suggest you read that one
and then tell all your friends how inappropriate it was. (Wait,
damnit - I don't think there's any foul language in it).
Before I end my apocalyptic review, I thought I should mention a
few additional disasters that are out there waiting in the wings.
I'm not trying to be negative. I just think we should be aware of
the many ways the sky could begin falling at any moment. Here's a
list of things to watch out for:
I don't want you to think I'm a Debbie downer. These are things
I see in the news everyday and they make for future novels. And I
just wanted to share....